Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1971

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




James Ryabik


The effects of punishment is learning a concept task was investigated. The Ss were 20 male and 20 female college students, with an equal number of male and females Ss randomly assigned to each of 4 groups. Males and females in the experimental group lost points for errors made while sorting 81 slides into 2 categories, one which contained the concept and one which did not. The control group received only knowledge of results for correct or incorrect responses. When Ss reached a criterion of 10 successive correct responses after indicating knowledge of the concept, or after compiling a total of 50 errors, the task was terminated. Ss finally rated how well they liked the experiment on a 7 point scale. The dependent variables included number of trials and number of errors made to reach criteria. Other measures used included the number of times Ss indicated attainment of the concept and the final rating of the experiment. A 2 x 2 factorial analysis of variance failed to yield significant differences for number of errors, number of trials, and number of times Ss indicated attainment of the concept. Females disliked the experiment significantly more than males. The punished group liked the experiment less than the knowledge of results group. After analyzing the data for the original Ss, additional Ss were run until each group had a total of 10 Ss attaining the concept. Ss not attaining the concept were deleted from the initial group of Ss. This addition of new Ss did not change the initial results.


Copyright 1971 Donald D. Binder


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